Plasma Polymerization of Some Organic Compounds and Properties of the Polymers
Plasma polymerizations (under 13.5-MHz radiofrequency inductively coupled glow discharge) of some organic compounds are investigated by their properties (elemental analysis, surface energy, and infrared spectra) and their relations to the concentrations of free radicals in the polymers as detected by electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. Monomers that have been investigated are hexamethyldisiloxane, tetrafluoroethylene, acetylene, acetylene/N2, acetylene/H2O, acetylene/N2/H2O, allene, allene/N2, allene/H2O, allene/N2/H2O, ethylene, ethylene/N2, ethylene oxide, propylamine, allylamine, propionitrile, and acrylonitrile. Plasma-polymerized polymers generally contain oxygen, even if the starting monomers do not contain oxygen. This oxygen incorporation is related to the free-radical concentration in the polymer. Molecular nitrogen copolymerizes with other organic monomers such as acetylene, allene, and ethylene, and their properties are very similar to those of plasma-polymerized polymers from nitrogen-containing compounds such as amines and nitriles. The addition of water to the monomer mixture reduces in a dramatic manner the concentration of free radicals in the polymer and consequently the oxygen-incorporation after the polymer is exposed to air. The concentrations of free radicals (by ESR) are directly correlated to the change of the properties of plasma-polymerized polymers with time of exposure to the atmosphere. These changes are primarily the introduction of carbonyl (and possibly hydroxyl) groups. The addition of water to the plasma introduces these groups during the polymerization.